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Syndicated column from The Parent Institute

[OCT. 21, 2005]  Q: My daughter is in third grade. She comes home from school complaining that she's bored. She's always been a good student but seems to have lost interest in school this year. I don't think the teacher pays much attention to her because she doesn't do anything to get noticed. She pays attention in class, does her homework and so on. What can I do to help her at home to improve her attitude and get her excited about school?

A: It appears that you have a very bright child. And you are learning how important it is to keep her challenged. A child who finds school boring because she already knows the material, or because the work comes too easily to her, may see grades and attitude drop, even though her ability level is high.

Make an appointment with your daughter's teacher. Explain the behavior you see at home. Ask what the teacher has observed in class. Together, determine steps you can take to help your daughter be more challenged by her schoolwork and keep her excited about school. For example, if the rest of the class is reading a book your daughter has already read, maybe she could read another book with a similar theme. Can your daughter work ahead? Or, can she do an extra, in-depth project about what the class is learning? Ask if your daughter might qualify for a special program for academically gifted children.

There are many things you can do at home to strengthen your daughter's interest in what she is learning at school and to make learning fun and challenging. Consider the following:

  • Does your daughter have any special interests? Build on them. Does she like animals? Visit the zoo or an animal shelter. After your visit, have her write a story about one of the animals. She could also do research on an animal or find photos that she could add to her story. Send her story to grandparents for a gift.

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  • Does she like to cook? Try out new recipes. Have her double or halve the measurements of ingredients.

  • Read with her and let her read to you. Take turns reading aloud. Use the newspaper as a learning tool. Help her read the weather report. Ask her to read the comics to you. Look to see if your paper has a special children's page.

You may also want to look for out-of-school learning opportunities. Your daughter may be bored in school but may thrive in an after-school art course or a computer class. Encourage her interests and talents and make sure she doesn't think she is loved for her achievements alone.

[The Parent Institute]

For more information about helping children learn or to submit your own question, go to http://advisor.parent-institute.com. All questions will receive a prompt answer by e-mail.

Copyright 2005, The Parent Institute.

"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful Children" is a free, syndicated column from the Parent Institute.


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